US 5807461 A
A lamination system includes a supply and a take-up roll carrying a web therebetween. The web carries a laminate. The laminate is applied to a printed card as the card moves between two rollers. At least one roller may be heated and responsively pressed against the printed card to cause adhesion of the laminate to the printed card.
1. An apparatus for providing a printed laminated identification card, comprising:
a print station printing a printed identification card;
a web supply roll;
a web take-up roll;
a web extending between, and carried on, the web supply roll and the web take-up roll;
a plurality of transparent laminates releasably attached at first sides of the laminates to a portion of the web carried on the web supply roll and carrying a heat activated adhesive on a second side which faces away from the web;
a card feed mechanism adapted to receive the printed identification card and to move the identification card along a card path;
a web guide mechanism positioned to guide at least a portion of the web between the web supply roll and the web take-up roll substantially parallel and in abutting contact with the printed identification card through at least a portion of the card path;
a heated roller movably positioned adjacent the card path and in contact with web proximate the portion of the web which is in abutting contact with the portion of the card path, the heated roller moveable between a first position and a second position in which a force is applied to the web and against the printed identification card;
a sensor positioned between the web supply roll and the web take-up roll adjacent the web to detect movement of the laminate; and
a controller coupled to the print station, the web supply roll, the web take-up roll, the heated roller and the sensor, the controller adapted to control a printing process and to move the web between the web supply roll and the web take-up roll in parallel with the printed identification card and to selectively apply a force with the heated roller to the web and against the printed identification card to thereby adhere a laminate to the printed identification card with the heat activated adhesive carried on the second side of the laminate.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 including an opposed roller positioned opposite the heated roller and wherein the heated roller applies pressure against the web in a direction substantially toward the opposed roller.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the sensor comprises an optical sensor.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the sensor is positioned between the heated roller and the web take-up roll.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the controller halts movement of the web in response to a signal from the sensor indicating that one of the plurality of transparent laminates is attached to the web at a position between the heated roller and the web take-up roll.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the web includes index markings and the sensor is positioned to detect the index markings and responsively provide a signal to the controller.
The present invention claims the benefit of earlier filed U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/017,100, entitled LAMINATION TECHNIQUE filed on May 9, 1996.
The present invention relates to a lamination process. More specifically, the present invention relates to applying a laminate film to a printed card.
Printed materials such as printed cards which are used for photographic identification cards are known. It is often desirable to apply a laminate layer to protect the printed card. The laminate layer to protect the printed card. The laminate layer adds stiffness and protects the printed card from damage. Preferably, the laminate layer is of a clear material such that the printing on the card can be observed therethrough.
There are various types of printing and lamination processes known in the art. Various examples, include:
U.S. Pat. No. 5,484,502, issued Jan. 16, 1996 to Bozanic and is entitled UV-HARD COAT TRANSFER. The Bozanic reference describes a thermal ink transfer printing technique for printing labeling for an instrument gauge. The printing step is shown in FIG. 2. A lamination process shown in FIG. 3 uses a hot press to apply a laminate to the printed gauge.
The Nagate et al. reference U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,960, issued Aug. 1, 1995 and is entitled PROCESS FOR LAMINATING PHOTOSENSITIVE LAYER. Referring to FIGS. 4(A) through 4(F), Nagate shows applying a laminate onto a base sheet using a heater 25. A pair of rollers 7 and 8 are heated and used to attach the laminate to the base sheet. An air cylinder 28 shown in FIG. 4(A) is used to squeeze rollers 7 and 8 together.
The Schmidt et al. reference U.S. Pat. No. 5,172,938, issued Dec. 22, 1992 and is entitled I.D. CARD PRODUCT. The Schmidt reference relates to applying a laminate carried on roll 45 onto an identification card. The laminate is transparent.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,687,526, issued Aug. 18, 1987 to Wilfert and is entitled METHOD OF MAKING AN IDENTIFICATION CARD. Wilfert describes an I.D. type printer which uses a laser printer 22 whose output is fed into a laminator 26. The laminator 26 applies a transparent thermal plastic material.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,617,080, issued Oct. 14, 1986 to Kobayashi et al. and is entitled FILM LAMINATING APPARATUS. The Kobayashi et al. reference relates to laminating paper which carries printing information such as characters or picture images. A laminate is carried on web 3 and is transferred to papers sheet L. A heating element 6 is used along with pressure from roller 7. The device also uses two optical sensors 12 and 15 to detect the presence of the film and the paper end.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,287,285, issued Sept. 1, 1981 to Mosehauer and is entitled METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR FABRICATING PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS. The Mosehauer reference uses a photoconductor technique for forming an image on an identification card. A laminate is applied to the card following printing using heated rollers 61 and 62.
The present invention provides a lamination process for a printed card such as the type used in a identification card printing system.
A printed card is fed between two rollers. At the same time, a laminate material carried on a web is fed between the rollers. At least one of the rollers is heated and may be actuated against the card to press the laminate against a surface of the card. An optical sensor is provided to detect the laminate carried on the web. As the card and laminate are moved between the two rollers, the laminate is pressed against the card and an adhesive, activated by heat and pressure, attaches the laminate to the card.
FIG. 1 is a simplified diagram showing a lamination process in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 1 shows lamination system 10 in accordance with the present invention. Lamination system 10 receives printed card 12, such as an identification card, from a print station 14. A laminate 16 is carried on a web 17 between a supply roll 18 and a take-up roll 20. Laminate 16 and printed card 12 are fed through rollers 22 and 24. Web 17 is carried around roller 26. As printed card 12 moves through rollers 22 and 24, roller 24 is moved downward and presses laminate 16 against the printed card 12. Preferably, roller 24 is heated. Adhesive carried on laminate 16 causes laminate 16 to be adhered to printed card 12. An optical sensor 30 is provided to detect movement of web 17. For example, web 17 can carry index markings. Additionally, optical sensor 30 can be used to detect a failure of laminate 16 to adhere to printed card 12. Preferably, laminate 16 is made of a protective material and is transparent to allow viewing therethrough. A controller 32 is operably coupled to rollers 18, 20 and 24 and to optical sensor 30 and print station 14 and is able to control the printing and lamination process.
Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.